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UBS Chief Sends Memo to I-Bankers

UBS headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland.
Steffen Schmidt
UBS headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland.

UBS Chief Executive Officer Oswald Gruebel admitted in an email this morning that some of the high level departures from the Swiss bank’s investment banking have been regrettable.

“There have indeed been departures and hires, but this is only to be expected in times of change. In some cases the moves have been regrettable, but in other they have been the right decision for the bank,” Gruebel wrote in an email addressed to the investment banking division.

UBS has lost at least 50 dealmakers from its U.S. investment bank since 2009, according to a recent Bloomberg story. A recent Wall Street Journal story described infighting between bankers and the head of investment banking, Carsten Kengeter.

Gruebel bemoans the media coverage in the email obtained by CNBC, writing that “speculation may drive news” and complaining that the media “has often chosen to ignore the steady progress we have made.”

Gruebel appears to be attempting to boost morale in the division. He says the bank is “committed to making substantial investment in our existing talent and in rebuilding our teams.” That may be a reference to feelings among some UBS investment bankers that they aren’t paid as well as bankers at rival firms.

“Today, we are among the top five foreign investment banks in the US, but our ambitions go far beyond this,” Gruebel writes.

He signs off informally with his nickname: “Ossie.”

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